Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
June 2019

Vol. 24, No.26 Week of June 30, 2019

AOGCC approves AIO for Southern Miluveach

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved an application by Brooks Range Petroleum Corp. to inject water and natural gas at the Southern Miluveach unit on the North Slope.

BRPC is the Southern Miluveach unit operator and has been working to bring the unit into production. The company requested authorization to inject fluids for pressure maintenance and enhanced recovery of hydrocarbons from the Kuparuk River oil pool within the SMU. The commission held a hearing June 4 on the application, with testimony provided by BRPC.

BRPC drilled the discovery well, North Tarn 1A, in January 2012, and confirmed it at the Mustang 1 in February 2012.

AOGCC said the Kuparuk River oil pool is defined in Conservation Order 432D. In addition to the SMU, the commission said, portions of the oil pool lie within the Kuparuk River unit, which adjoins SMU, and the Milne Point unit.

Reserves estimates

Estimates of in-place and recoverable volumes for the SMU are based on audited reserves and analogous developments, the commission said, and include: 70 million barrels of original oil in place; 10-25% recovery of OOIP estimated from primary recovery, 7-17.5 million barrels; primary plus water injection (an additional 10-25% of OOIP), 7-17.5 million barrels incremental; primary plus water and lean gas injection (additional 1-5% OOIP above primary plus water injection), 0.7-3.5 million barrels incremental; and primary plus water and lean and enriched gas injection (additional 3-15% OOIP above primary plus water injection), 2.1-10.5 million barrels incremental.

Development of the field will be with up to 11 horizontal production wells and 10 horizontal injection wells drilled parallel with the major faults, the commission said, hydraulic fracturing possible in some wells to enhance reserve recovery.

The commission said the anticipated peak daily injection rate for individual wells is 6,000 barrels of water and 6 million standard cubic feet of gas.

Water and water-alternating-gas injection into the Kuparuk River oil pool in the SMU, AOGCC said, “will provide a substantial EOR benefit over primary recovery alone, maximize ultimate recovery from the SMU-KROP, and prevent waste.”

Aquifer issues

There may be aquifers shallower than about 2,300 feet measured depth, the commission said, but BRPC will isolate those aquifers with cement.

“Shallow aquifers within the SMU are not considered Underground Sources of Drinking Water (USDWs) because they are situated at depths that make recovery of water for drinking purposes economically impractical, and they are situated at a location where they are not reasonably expected to supply a public water system,” the commission said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an aquifer exemption for the Kuparuk River field, but that applies only to the portion of the SMU within one-quarter mile of the boundary of the adjoining Kuparuk River unit, AOGCC said.

“An Aquifer Exemption Order is not required for the remainder of the Affected Area because BRPC’s enhanced recovery injection operations - as described in BRPC’s Application - will not impact any shallow aquifers, and none of the shallow aquifers within the Affected Area are consider USDWs,” the commission said.

BRPC is the SMU operator. Working interest owners are Alaska Venture Capital Group LLC, Brooks Range Petroleum Corp., Caracol Petroleum LLC, Mustang Operations Center 1 LLC, Mustang Road LLC, Nabors Drilling Technologies USA Inc. and TP North Slope Development LLP. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is the landowner.

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